• Carl Battreall

The Way of Water


Print #13, Alaska, 2020 1/1 www.asinglelens.com

Moving water in still photographs isn't anything unique, in fact, it is very common. The technique has been used since photography's conception. In photography's infancy, the blurry water was an unavoidable look, the exposures were just too slow to "freeze" water in motion. When film speeds and camera shutters were finally quick enough to stop motion, photographers and viewers of photography generally preferred the beauty of blurry water taken with long shutter speeds over sharp water, stopped in motion by a quick exposure.


As cliche and over done as milky water photographs are, I am still attracted to photographing water in such a way. The path of water is never the same. Rain, summer melt or freezing temps all change water's movement. I can visit a stream throughout the year and it will always be a bit different. Rocks and roots are covered or revealed, icicles form, water is reduced to a trickle or becomes a raging torrent.



Print #14, Alaska, 2020, 1/1 www.asinglelens.com

Lao Tzu believed we should follow water's example and try to live as if we were fluid. Water is soft and yields to the rigid and and hard. And yet, water shapes rocks, carves canyons and dissolves mountains. Water is patient, it doesn't push back against obstacles, instead, it simply flows around them, making changes when only when necessary and with little effort.

Print #15, Alaska, 2020 1/1 www.asinglelens.com

In Alaska, we often take water for granted. We forget that water is scarce in much of the world, or is polluted and not suitable to drink. Photographing water reminds me of how lucky I am to live somewhere where clean water is plentiful. These images are part of a series I am calling, unsurprisingly, The Way of Water.